Event Planner

Episode 55 – Coffee N. 5 – Event Planner

Planning an important event is not as easy as it seems. Logistics, theme, guests, food and beverage, transportation, among others, are some of the most important items that have to be considered to achieve a successful event. Jenny Chang, recognized as one of the country’s ‘Top 50 Event Planners’ by PartySlate, and ‘Top 10’ in Los Angeles by Junebug Weddings, brings her strategies to break the boundaries of creating experiences. She is the founder of Rocknevents and Vowlá, an intelligent app matching clients with their own virtual wedding planner. Jenny has created a new level of creative expectations as she has been able to turn others’ dreams into realities for all celebrations and experiences. She creates memorable experiences for all: weddings, music festivals, birthday parties, and so much more. Jenny Chang is the event mogul that you want on your team.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • The importance of believing in yourself. Jenny Chang shares her path in the industry, how hard it was to get it. 
  • The different items to consider before throwing a massive event. 
  • How to create a theme taking into account the values that the host wants to transmit. 
  • Tips to make a memorable event. 
  • How to create an experience out of an event. 

If you want to learn more about Jenny Chang, her works and services visit her social media. 

Instagram: www.instagram.com/jennychanggang

TikTok: www.tiktok.com/@iamjennychang

Download our free guide to Clubhouse, and learn everything you need to know about this social network.

Lara Schmoisman, CEO & Founder of The Darl and Marketing Simplificado

Instagram: @laraschmoisman

Facebook: @LaraSchmoisman

LinkedIn: @laraschmoisman

Twitter: @LaraSchmoisman

The Magnet of Experiences with Jenny Chang of ROCKNEVENTS



Lara Schmoisman  00:05

This is Coffee N.5. I’m your host, Lara Schmoisman. Thank you everyone to be back and Coffee N.5 today, I hope you have enough coffee with you because I feel that you’re gonna need all that caffeine to have this call that we’re gonna have right now is this talk with Jenny Chang. Did I say the right?


Jenny Chang  00:26

You said it perfectly.


Lara Schmoisman  00:28

Okay, wonderful. Jenny is an amazing treat of all sorts. I mean, I don’t know how to say them. And she does so much. But something that I’m impressed with, and is her party planning. And being a party planner. I mean, I’m a former producer, either marketing but doing an event is a whole different level. It’s an anyone can have an event, anyone can invite a few friends and hang out but have a successful band is completely different. So welcome, Jenny,


Jenny Chang  01:03

Thank you so much for having me. I’m so grateful. I’m so grateful.


Lara Schmoisman  01:08

So okay, first of all, tell me a little give me a little backstory, how did you get into some event planning? Because you have between you and I, when it should be a little crazy to the what we do?


Jenny Chang  01:17

I know. Absolutely. You gotta definitely have a chaotic mind and chaotic energy. Absolutely. Um, so I actually was 19 when I started my event planning firm, rockin events. And it’s based out in Los Angeles. And I essentially just started this company out of a very strong passion for working with people working in love, and working in parties, right. And so I decided, I was like, you know, I kind of had no experience in this industry or whatnot. And I decided I was like, I’m just gonna, like, basically start this company. But it all happened because I was being rejected by so many event planning firms, like everyone was rejecting my resumes, no one was really giving me an opportunity to like exercise my internship ability or anything like that. So I decided, well, I’m just gonna start this company on my own. So I did. And now I got it. I’m so ultimately grateful for this company, because it’s expanded to four other companies that I’ve started because of rockin events, all within the experiential industry. And, obviously, you know, it’s just been so crazy lately, but it’s just been, it’s one of the funnest industries that you know, anyone to really be in high pressure, but it’s one of the most rewarding. And I’m proud to say that I’m now to this point where I’m an experiential director, and I get to really kind of orchestrate so many of these different vibrations of events, all while being if expand my event firm to as many states as possible.


Lara Schmoisman  02:58

So I mean, it’s so much work to the one events. So this is what we’re going to, I love the small talk about doing chit chat about the things and exchange tips, because there’s so many things, the first thing I think you need for an event, besides a date is a list.


Jenny Chang  03:16

You know, I think one of the first important things when starting an event is to a understand, you know, why we’re having this event, right? What is the mission? What are we trying to create? What are we trying to cause? What’s the cause that affecting if to produce a such vibration? A lot of our clients are anywhere from like corporate events to social events, and everyone has this one mission, right, that they want to be able to volumize because of that experience. And so it’s obviously you know, getting to the logistics, you know, but I would agree with you, I think one of the most important things as you’re starting is, you know, a attach the reason and what that attach the mission of the event to the logistics, right?


Lara Schmoisman  04:00

 How important is to have a theme.


Jenny Chang  04:03

I think it is very important. I want to say that it’s at least like 30%, right, you know, whether it’s a theme or whether it’s, you know, bringing together like the company culture, right or brand, bring your brand to life. That could be a theme in itself. But themes are important because you’re basically creating an experience out of that theme. Right? So we’re not just putting like Halloween, Ghost stickers on cups, right? We’re actually trying to create like a haunted experience to bring that to life. So I think that when you have a theme, it’s important as it helps navigate what that experience is going to end up becoming, you know.


Lara Schmoisman  04:41

Absolutely. To me having a theme is always part of the round like you said, but it is you know what you’re planning if you have like, we call it marketing are part of your lives. The core, what is the experience you want people to have? You’re like a virgin Canvas and, like, where do I start, you have to write something that you can grab, and you start creating from there.


Jenny Chang  05:06

Exactly, exactly. That’s true. And I also feel that, um, you know, it’s, it’s kind of like this web, you know, it helps kind of navigate the vision of what it is that’s going to be brought to life, you know?


Lara Schmoisman  05:19

And what about the budget? How important is to have a budget?


Jenny Chang  05:22

It’s, that’s a good question. I always say to clients, that it’s not really the number that I focus on. It’s what I do with that number, that’s going to make a world of a difference, right.


Lara Schmoisman  05:31

But you need to know what you’re working with.


Jenny Chang  05:34

You definitely have to have a good range of what it is that we’re working with. But if you work with an event designer, or producer, you’re essentially hiring someone to be able to create one of the greatest visions with any budget given, right.


Lara Schmoisman  05:49

Absolutely, but you need to know what you’re counting with. The worst thing you can do is to tell the people, I can do all this and say, well, but I cannot pay for that.


Jenny Chang  06:00

 Exactly, exactly. So whenever we’re discussing budgeting with clients and event field, I always talk to people and I say, Alright, so what is the ballpark? You know, and then what I always kind of reassure them of is whether that ballpark is realistic for what that mission is going to be ultimately, or even visions specifically. So


Lara Schmoisman  06:18

Absolutely. And Okay, so now that we have a budget, list, a theme, how we start, where do we start?


Jenny Chang  06:28

We start with the venue, we start with the destination, right? Hey, so we need to have the foundation of what every event is going to be built upon. Right? Okay. So the first phase that I always walk my clients through is finding the right space for their event. And of course, right when you get that space, you get the dates, which is the most important thing, right? Yeah. When it’s all gonna happen.


Lara Schmoisman  06:52

Yeah, dates are important on also depends. I mean, of course, you’re not gonna have a beach theme outdoor in the middle of the winter in Boston.


Jenny Chang  07:01

Agree. Agreed? Exactly. Yeah. Right. So it’s one of those things where it’s like, we always think about that destination, you know, what are we building everything around? I’m going back to talking about budgets, you spending, you know, investing in your budget, like venues specifically attached to food and beverage is always going to be about 40% 40 to 60% of your overall budget. So that’s the number one spot that’s number one thing that we start with.


Lara Schmoisman  07:28

Something that I found really important planning events is transportation, how are you going to pay parking that makes a whole experience also.


Jenny Chang  07:37

Of course, and it shows how much the host cares about the comfort, the experience of all the attendees, so transportations so important, but we are very fortunate to be living in this generation of experiences and events, because there’s so many different types of transportation types, and companies and new transportation, um, you know, innovations that are really helping this process, you know, be a lot more timeless.


Lara Schmoisman  08:07

For example, I had a party last end of the year party before Hyundai Mia. And it was a great spot that a company that I was invited to send that but they were first of all, I had to park in another lot. And then I had to get a bus to take me to the lot. That was annoying already. Because I went to my house run and I want to leave earlier. So then I Okay, so what I do, I over then he was really far from where everyone lived. He was like in a heal, and also was an event venue that there were like, 20 other parties. So he will go to the bathroom. But there will be people from other party. It’s like, what are your prom? And so you cannot do that to each other? Or what do you know, how do you get here? How do I Oh, I mean, because such a small talk that is about the party you are like in this huge line of people that you don’t know and experience wasn’t right. And I would have appreciate the smaller place of restaurant, you need to know who your crowd is.


Jenny Chang  09:11

Absolutely. You need to know your crowd, you need to know exactly who you are, you know, throwing this for and actually lack of transportation and logistics planning will actually be the result as to whether you’re going to have more attendees The next time you do an event or not. Right.


Lara Schmoisman  09:28

I mean, there are different kinds of parties, you have the business parties that have to go to the target audience, right want prospective buyers or whatever. But when you have also a social event, you need to understand these are family friends, and there are many different age groups you need to accommodate everyone. I always say that planning bar mitzvahs are so much harder than planning a wedding because wedding except a few like little kids that they are the sister brother of the bride or groom that right In a bar mitzvah, you have little kids, middle kids, they’re teenagers that they don’t want to do absolutely anything but they want to be there. Then you have the parents age and then the grandparents say that it’s was really, really challenging.


Jenny Chang  10:14

Yeah, no, you know what, that’s a really good perspective. That’s a very good perspective. That’s very true as well. I agree. Nowadays you go to a wedding and they’re like no kids.


Lara Schmoisman  10:25

Now you know what it’s making make it much easier because Okay, let’s gonna be talking about a sec now. Right. Let’s talk about sitting assignment. Okay, let’s do it. That’s I think the worse first to create them but then you have the last minute people who carousel or Oh, I come in actually with another plus one. Because you know what happened to my son’s Bar Mitzvah or someone sign in? Send us a RSVP car with his that he was coming with a daughter? teenagers daughters, okay, nature daughter went to the teenager kids and the solid person was went with adults. What happened? He show up with a girlfriend instead of the daughter. Oh, come on. Just seriously.


Jenny Chang  11:14

That’s just disrespectful.


Lara Schmoisman  11:17

I was able to pull it off because the knee I refused to have a party planner, and a party assistant the day off. But I I had to switch it up so glad. Can you imagine the poor woman sitting with the teenagers?


Jenny Chang  11:31

No, that’s a little weird. Yeah. Did you ever confront him?


Lara Schmoisman  11:34

No, no, it was that? Yeah. And you know, so what do you suggest about planning assignments? How do you plan?


Jenny Chang  11:43

You know, I funny enough. So I, you know, my company doesn’t really, we it’s so rare when we’re doing seating arrangements, because we’re not doing events for ourselves, but we’re always the ones telling our clients how to do it. I think the best tip is just you got to be able to compartmentalize very well, you know, like, you really have to know, like you said earlier, you have to know the people that you’re inviting, you have to know who your target is, right? Whether it’s for wedding, whether it’s for a bar mitzvah, whether it’s for a corporate event, you got to know who you’re inviting. And so you want to be able to group people on kind of just by category, right? You know, specifically, I would honestly, if I were to do it myself, it would be based on like, who I would want to, like, have network together, you know, but also like creating a familiarity. Yeah, current connections, right? work, right. But definitely don’t do it by age. You know, I think people get a little weird when like, they go to a table.


Lara Schmoisman  12:37

There are other considerations. Like, for example, you want to put people that maybe they are more, that they don’t want to be close to the dance floor, that of course,


Jenny Chang  12:49

Location of seating is important. It’s important in terms of like, I feel like sometimes when you just group everyone at the same age, unless that’s like literally the tribe. You know, that’s like literally the group. I think it kind of gets a little bit some people get offended by that nowadays.


Lara Schmoisman  13:04

Maybe. Yeah, I mean, people get offended so easily. They can they get offended, or you, you put me too far from this town with that one on the table. But I thought I’m closer to you that the person that was with me, it’s difficult enough. I agree. So in my second son’s Bar Mitzvah, you know what I did? No settings, I just see the lounge and some table. So that’s really just people eat and mingle.


Jenny Chang  13:32

Sometimes it’s better to keep a very casual setting like that. So it just the event was just constantly flowing. People are moving around, you know, yeah.


Lara Schmoisman  13:41

 And also something that I found very interesting doing events is like maybe having in the middle of the event there is putting something like a show a magic show or a moment that people can I slow down for a bit.


Jenny Chang  13:56

I absolutely agree.


Lara Schmoisman  13:58

Okay, and the other thing, our mobile montage, I mean, I know everyone wants to have that, but please, so make it 30 minutes long. 30 minutes is a lot. I know you love every picture of your life. You love every picture, that the time that you guys playing together in a wedding or your kid, but 30 minutes is too long, right?


Jenny Chang  14:22

And I feel like nowadays, it’s like, you know, it’s it’s something that could just go on in the background. Like if that were to happen just as like a car, like as part of a cocktail experience. You know, it’s kind of nice to just like for the people that want to pause and really appreciate it, but like to make it a whole like theatrical event. It’s just it’s not as it’s not as a timeless you know, it’s not a shell, right?


Lara Schmoisman  14:47

You want someone to live and the party and say, Oh, that was a great party.


Jenny Chang  14:52

Exactly. Right.


Lara Schmoisman  14:53

I think we’re gonna remember the for the right drinks and then little things they are you do not need to overdo. All right. Okay, so last thing I got to ask you about party favors,


Jenny Chang  15:06

You know, I’m going to be Yeah, I’m not really crazy about party favors, I want to be real with you, we don’t really promote it as much, unless you’re making it very creative. You’re making it an experience, you know, like, let’s say that, you know, the favor is basically someone plugging their escort card, you know, and that escort card is like a tarot card, you know, and that it’s like, you know, something cool, like, and then they get to take that home and it has their name on it. That’s, you know, like, but but to do the whole like, meant.


Lara Schmoisman  15:38

I’m exactly the same as you. I have my son’s Bar Mitzvah, and I go out to this experience, because I did the whole thing. And I wanted an experience for people. My kid, he loves books, but I did I went and I bought use books, and all the table. The centerpieces were used books, and I got like, really old book. Anyone can take the books home.


Jenny Chang  16:04

Oh, that’s nice. I’m not like a free for all like that.


Lara Schmoisman  16:08

Yeah. And the seating arrangements, like their books about bookmarks.


Jenny Chang  16:13

Oh, okay. That’s cute. I really liked that.


Lara Schmoisman  16:17

You can be creative, make it affordable. And I mean, and thickness solid book, something real, is taking something valuable home, really warmed my heart seeing little kids taking books home.


Jenny Chang  16:30

Yeah, I know. And what I love about that is that you took something that your son loves, and you’re able to expand that to everyone that’s there. And for a lot of the people that don’t know your son, the way that you know your son, they got to learn something new about him. You know.


Lara Schmoisman  16:45

 What we’re gonna do. You’re gonna put flowers?


Jenny Chang  16:50

No, no, you did it. I think you did it. Right.


Lara Schmoisman  16:53

That’s what I think anyone who makes an event need to make it memorable. Right, of course. So I’m gonna ask you for three tips. Okay, three giveaways of how to make an event memorable?


Jenny Chang  17:07

Well, that’s a great question. The first tip that I’m going to naturally I’m it’s just very intuitive, I want to say is, don’t bring an image to life, right? Bring the person to life, bring that person’s love of life to live like to live. And I say this because now we live in a world where we have so many inspirations and so many resources like Pinterest, and Google and images for days where we can just gain so much inspiration. And I think so many people, consciously or subconsciously are just trying to bring that specific image.


Lara Schmoisman  17:43

I will say don’t copy, like I always say, Mark, don’t copy other people’s strategy make it yours.


Jenny Chang  17:50

Exactly. Yeah. And we, you know, whether you’re planning a party for yourself, or planning a party for other people, you have to get to know that person, right. So like, for example, I would always say this in my wedding plans, I would always say, I don’t want to bring like your Pinterest photos to life. What I want to do is get to know the couples so well, I want to know who they were independently. And the who did they become interdependently? Who did they become because of each other? And I want to bring that to life. Yeah, because I want people to walk into an event and say this is so them, you know, I want them I want if we’re choosing a venue that’s booking over 100 events a year, I want that one day to feel like it’s that that couples home.


Lara Schmoisman  18:34

And that place became me right just because of them.


Jenny Chang  18:38

Exactly. So that’s one of my biggest tips is you know, ask the right questions that are going to drive you know, ask the right probing questions that it’s going to generate the right answers and use those responses to be able to design and create something miraculous, you know, another tip that I would say is let’s say I want to kind of pull something logistically Don’t worry about the creative part until you get the logistics down. You know, I developed as I Chi handcrafted this phase, it’s a five stage event planning journey. And the first three phases are all dedicated to logistics. The last two are revolve design. Everyone kind of when they think about planning an event, they think it’s just like bringing up you know, they just they think it’s just so creative and it is but what’s the point of getting into creativity if it’s not even you don’t even know if it’s possible you know what I mean?


Lara Schmoisman  19:33

I have a something something else so Okay, Okay guys, I know this football You know, when you get the list of best because crane again, and laser cast is hard. I’ve know people they cry tears. To me. It’s kind of all you have the people that you want to invite you invite them if they want your beer list is because you didn’t want them so much.


Jenny Chang  19:55

Yeah, yeah, that’s all that so this is all very accurate. So


Lara Schmoisman  20:00

Do I really need to fill out the face? Or?


Jenny Chang  20:02

And that’s the thing. I think that, you know, there’s so many different elements. And there’s people, like, when you’re planning an event, like, you got to look at the investor, you know, normally the, if the investor is the one paying, like parents, let’s say, for whatever reason, they’re gonna want to invite their friends, you know, and those end up being like, you know, primary to write along with, like, whoever’s actually, but the way that I see it is like, yeah, there’s a tier A, B, and C list. Um, and actually a C list don’t really make it until like that month of, you know, like, they’re kind of like fillers, right? Yeah. filling the space.


Lara Schmoisman  20:42

So you know, that if you’ve got it in mind before you’re a seal?


Jenny Chang  20:46

Yeah, that’s why I don’t and I never really get these invitations to last minute, but if I ever get an invitation, that’s last minute, I’m like, No, I’m good. No, I’m not gonna go. And then, of course, you got the a list and B list. And I think that B list tends to be a little bit more on like the group of people that are like extensions of the a list, you know, plus ones or, you know, someone that you haven’t talked to in a while, but you would feel bad if you didn’t invite them kind of thing, you know, so yeah, it’s, it’s but it’s a it’s a real thing. This like tier system. It’s a very real thing.


Lara Schmoisman  21:24

It sure it is Jenny, thank you so much for having coffee with me. I love having you here. And you know how to go for more tips and tricks and we’re gonna put all the chapter notes with any way to find Jenny. And believe me, there are many ways to find her.


Jenny Chang  21:43

Thank you so much. See you soon.


Lara Schmoisman  21:46

Thank you for joining us. If you like the show, remember to leave a review. I will really appreciate it. If you want to know more about marketing and and myself, follow me on Instagram. My handle is Lara Schmoisman. Was so good to have you here today. See you next time. catch you on the flip side. Ciao ciao.


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